Experimental Investigation of Internal Short Circuits in Lithium-ion Batteries

Open Access
Poramapojana, Poowanart
Graduate Program:
Mechanical Engineering
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
August 10, 2015
Committee Members:
  • Chao Yang Wang, Dissertation Advisor
  • Chao Yang Wang, Committee Chair
  • Stefan Thynell, Committee Member
  • Christopher Rahn, Committee Member
  • Jun Huang, Committee Member
  • Li-ion battery
  • Nail penetration test
  • Internal short circuits
  • Battery safety
  • Diagnostic nail
With outstanding performance of Lithium-ion batteries, they have been widely used in many applications. For hybrid electric vehicles and electric vehicles, customer concerns of battery safety have been raised as a number of car accidents were reported. To evaluate safety performance of these batteries, a nail penetration test is used to simulate and induce internal short circuits instantaneously. Efforts to explain failure mechanisms of the penetration using electrochemical-thermal coupled models have been proposed. However, there is no experimental validation because researchers lack of a diagnostic tool to acquire important cell characteristics at a shorting location, such as shorting current and temperature. In this present work, diagnostic nails have been developed to acquire nail center temperatures and shorting current flow through the nails during nail penetration tests. Two types of cylindrical wall structures are used to construct the nails: a double-layered stainless steel wall and a composite cylindrical wall. An inner hollow cylinder functions as a sensor holder where two wires and one thermocouple are installed. To study experimental reproducibility and repeatability of experimental results, two nail penetration tests are conducted using two diagnostic nails with the double-layered wall. Experimental data shows that the shorting resistance at the initial stage is a critical parameter to obtain repeatable results. The average shorting current for both tests is approximately 40 C-rate. The fluctuation of the shorting current is due to random sparks and fire caused loose contacts between the nail and the cell components. Moreover, comparative experimental results between the two wall structures reveal that the wall structure does not affect the cell characteristics and Ohmic heat generation of the nail. The wall structure effects to current measurements inside the nail. With the composite wall, the actual current redistribution into the inner wall is found to be a sinusoidal waveform.